Update 4/21/20. Does the Ab Circle Pro work? The Ab Circle Pro is another in a long series of “amazing” “breakthrough” abdominal machines touted to help you lose weight. Here is how it’s supposed to work: You swing your body back and forth in an arching motion. This, they say, actives the abs and obliques to burn fat and reduce the midsection. Sounds good but does this home fitness machine really work? Here is everything you need to know.
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Ab Circle Pro TV Commercial Claims
If you saw the TV commercial fo this home gym machine, Here are some the things you should know:
At least 10 times during the infomercial you saw this statement:
“The complete ab circle pro system includes a reduced calorie diet and regular aerobic exercise”
So, if you just used the Ab Circle Pro for 3 minutes a day (as they say you should) and did not eat less and do aerobic exercise, you WILL NOT lose weight like they hint you will.
They say that the Circle Pro gets you to your aerobic target heart rate zone faster than any aerobic machine in the gym. If that’s so, why are they also recommending additional aerobic exercise as part of the Ab Circle Pro program?
Think about it; they say that Ab Circle Pro is like “a treadmill for the abs.” If that’s really true, then you shouldn’t have to do extra aerobic exercise, right?
If you’re not used to doing this type of exercise, then it’s likely that you will get to your target heart rate faster. But getting there faster doesn't mean the machine is better.
There is a lot they don't tell us, for example:
- How long will you stay at your target heart rate? They don’t say.
- How many calories do you burn when you use the Ab Circle Pro? They don’t say.
- They often recommend using it for only 3 minutes a day. How many calories does that burn? They don’t say that either.
I have no doubt that if you are not used to it, the Ab Circle Pro will increase your heart rate some and you may start to sweat.
But what happens after 2 or 3 weeks later? After some time, you would get used to the Circle Pro, resulting in less sweating, less increase in heart rate and fewer calories used.
“Like a Treadmill for the Abs” – Really?
The statement that the Ab Circle Pro is it’s “like a treadmill for the abs” makes you think it's as good at cardio as a treadmill.
But where is the proof? They don’t say.
They do mention an “independent study,” but I can’t locate it.
It's not listed on the Ab Circle Pro website or the website for Jennifer Nicole Lee, the spokeswoman of this home gym machine. How many people were in the study have? How long did the study last?
They don't say.
Could it be that cutting calories is needed to get the results shown in the infomercial? Of course, it is! That’s why at the bottom of each testimonial on the TV commercial, it says people also reduced their calories and did aerobic exercise.
3 minutes on the Ab Circle Pro equals 100 sit-ups -Really?
They say that 3 minutes of exercise equals 100 sit-ups. But, there is no research to prove this.
Who proved it?
Where is the study published?
Of course, the machine will activate the abs and other abdominal muscles to a degree, but until they do a clinical study and get it published in a peer-reviewed science journal, I don't believe its the same as 100 situps.
The company guarantees that you’ll lose 10 pounds in 2 weeks. I'm pretty sure people will lose weight during the first 2 weeks – if they follow the entire program and here is the main reason why:
the low-calorie eating plan.
When we reduce calories and/or the carbs we eat, we cause our body to use glycogen, which is carbohydrates that our body stores for future use. When we use this energy, we release a LOT of water in the process.
This is actually how the Atkins, ketogenic diet, and South Beach Diet work. They get you to cut your carbs for the first 2 weeks of the diet. After two weeks, people lose a lot of weight – most of it is water. Your first sign of weight loss is frequent trips to the bathroom when you are on these diets.
Ab Circle Pro TV Commercial
They say the Ab Circle works because it combines cardiovascular and abdominal exercises. But what the infomercial doesn't show is the proof that it burns calories as well as a treadmill, elliptical, etc.
Who Is Jennifer Nicole Lee?
Jennifer Nicole Lee is not only the spokesperson for the Ab Circle Pro she is also the co-creator and designer of the product too. According to her website, she is “a fitness model and the CEO of her multi-million dollar empire”, called JNL. In the infomercial, they say Jennifer is a Fitness Celebrity and an Expert Fitness Celebrity
Both of these titles have no official definition. From her website and the infomercial, we learn that she lost about 70 pounds and truly that's wonderful. But, I would expect somebody with the title of “expert” to have at least an MS degree in exercise science. That's my opinion of course.
As the CEO of a multi-million dollar fitness corporation, I know she’s smart – very smart. But does that translate into her expertise in muscle physiology, cardiovascular physiology, fitness testing, sports nutrition or other areas which a fitness expert should have? Maybe. I just don't know.
How The Ab Circle Pro Is Supposed To Work
All advertisements for ab gizmos make people think by exercising the abs you will lose weight/fat from the abs. This is called spot reduction and it’s a myth. Think about it – Practically every abdominal exercise device you have ever seen on TV is based on this myth.
We cannot lose fat from just one part of our body. If we could, you would see skinnier arms on baseball pitchers and tennis players. But we don’t see this.
While they never specifically say spot reduction in the infomercial, all the pictures and talk about abs leads one to believe this is what will happen when you use the Ab Circle Pro. Does Jennifer Nicole Lee believe in spot reduction? I hope not because there is no proof for it.
I have never met her but I’d like to know if anybody has asked her this question. If she doesn't believe in spot reduction, then how does she rationalize marketing an ab gizmo whose implied marketing premise IS spot reduction?
Ab Circle Pro And 20/20
On May 20, 2011, the TV news show 20/20 did a segment on infomercials and featured the claims made by Jennifer Nicole Lee in her Ab Circle Pro commercial. 20/20 reports that in 2006 JNL told people on the Oprah Show that she lost her weight by doing squats while using her son Dylan as resistance.
But, in the Ab Circle infomercial, JNL doesn't mention doing squats with her infant son but rather attributes all of her weight loss to the Ab Circle Pro. In her words, “all thanks to the Ab Circle Pro”. This is interesting since Jennifer Nicole Lee lost her 80 pounds in 2004 – before this exercise machine was being sold.
When 20/20 contacted JNL for their segment, she disputed her weight loss was all due to the machine–even though 20 /20 had her own voice saying this on TV. After complaints about how JNL lost her weight, the company that makes the ab machine changed the wording used in product ads saying :
“Ms Lee used the Ab Circle Pro to maintain weight loss that she had already achieved”
Likewise, the claim that people can get their exercise in as little as 3 minutes a day has also been dropped from TV ads.
20/20 also consulted with Pratt Institute Photoshop expert William Hilson who claimed that the before pictures used in TV ads appear to be computer “stretched” – to make people look wider than they really are. While the company that makes the Circle Pro maintains that the before pictures were not altered, 20/20 reports that the before pictures have been dropped from ads.
After JNL agreed to a formal sit-down interview with 20/20 (she was originally confronted by 20/20 as she left a tanning salon), 20/20 reported that JNLs lawyer contacted them and threatened to have them arrested if they tried to contact JNL again.
The FTC Verdict
On August 24, 2012. The US Federal Trade Commission has ordered the company that makes Ab Circle to pay 25 million dollars in refunds because of deceptive advertising. Here is the FTC report. There you can also apply for a refund as well.
Ab Circle Pro Side Effects
If you are healthy, this exercise machine is safe. If you are not “healthy” then consult your doctor first. People who may want to consult their doctor first include those who:
- Are pregnant
- Have neck problems
- Have knee problems
- Have back problems like scoliosis of the spine
- Have difficulty getting up or down from the floor
- Have shoulder problems
- Have osteoporosis /osteopenia
- Have tennis elbow/golfers elbow
Of course, problems with these conditions are entirely hypothetical. There is no proof the device hurts anyone. I'm basing these suggestions on how the machine works and how you are situated on it. We are all different. I'd rather mention it than not.
Does The Ab Circle Pro Work?
If you read the comments below, you will see some people have said it did work. When it comes to strengthening the muscles, I'm pretty sure the Ab Circle Pro will work. But as for getting rid of love handles, etc., if you only use the machine and don't eat fewer calories, well then, I remain skeptical.
Here it is on Amazon